Decker Hunting Terrier

25-38 lbs
Decker, Decker Giant, Decker Rat Terrier, Decker Giant Rat Terrier

The Decker Hunting Terrier is a breed in development that is currently tracked by the National Rat Terrier Association. Milton Decker began development of the breed in the 1970s using a Smooth Fox Terrier mix dog named Henry that he bred with particular Rat Terriers to propagate Henry’s calmer temperament and superior hunting instincts, as well as keeping his slightly larger size. By the 1980s this strain of canines was breeding true, and in 1995 the National Rat Terrier Association began listing the Decker line on its pedigrees. These dogs are high-energy hunting dogs who get along with most people and other dogs but are likely to pursue any creature that they see as prey. 

Date of Origin
Smooth Fox and Rat Terrier

Decker Hunting Terrier Health

Average Size
Male Decker Hunting Terrier size stats
Height: 18-23 inches Weight: 25-38 lbs
Female Decker Hunting Terrier size stats
Height: 18-23 inches Weight: 25-38 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Heart Conditions
Minor Concerns
  • Demodectic Mange
  • Skin Allergies
  • Eye Diseases and Disorders
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Deafness
  • Epilepsy
  • Dental Issues
Occasional Tests
  • BAER Testing
  • Skin Samples
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging
  • Eye and Ear Examination

Decker Hunting Terrier Breed History

The Decker Hunting Terrier is a newer breed, recently developed by a man named Milton Decker near Eugene, Oregon. While shopping for plant stock for his nursery in the 1970s, Decker came across a group of Terriers and Terrier mix dogs at one of the local whole stock gardening supply stores and was offered his pick of the pack. He chose one of the larger dogs, a calmer than average three-year-old weighing about thirty-two pounds. The dog, who Decker dubbed Henry, was a mix between a Smooth Haired Fox Terrier named Frosty Dew and a good ol’ farm dog by the name of Jock, and it didn’t take Henry’s new master long to learn to appreciate the dog’s natural hunting instincts which included tracking, jumping deer, and treeing. When he learned that Henry’s dam passed shortly after he acquired the canine, he decided to breed Henry, in order to preserve his hunting instincts and pleasing temperament. He began searching for high-quality dogs for Henry to breed with, mostly Rat Terriers, preferably larger specimens with a strong hunting instinct and a calm, pleasant temperament, as well as erect ears. A few Basenji dogs were also used in the foundation, giving the breed additional size and prey drive. By the 1980s, the Decker strain was breeding true, and by 1993 Milton Decker was able to leave further development of the breed in the hands of other breeders such as Tim Brown, Arlene Fischer, Rosalie Riner, and many others, along with the help of the National Rat Terrier Association, who has been tracking the Decker bloodline for many years and have allowed the Decker line to be listed on their pedigrees since 1995. 

Decker Hunting Terrier Breed Appearance

The Decker Hunting Terrier, while larger on average than most Rat Terriers, is still a fairly small dog, with the largest of them generally under forty pounds in weight. They are slightly longer in the body than they are tall with compact but flexible bodies and a head that has a smooth, blunt wedge shape with a strong, somewhat tapered muzzle that is slightly shorter than their skull. They have oval-shaped eyes that can come in brown or hazel and have fairly large triangular ears that are positioned high up on the skull and stand erect. Decker Hunting Terriers have smooth, close-lying coats with a shiny appearance that are pied in color, meaning that they are mostly white with large patches of color, typically black, chocolate, red, or blue, although lemon and apricot occasionally crop up as well. Tan points and badger markings are common on these dogs, and they may have looser or slightly wrinkled lips compared to other Fox and Rat type Terriers. 

Eye Color Possibilities
hazel Decker Hunting Terrier eyes
brown Decker Hunting Terrier eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
blue Decker Hunting Terrier nose
black Decker Hunting Terrier nose
brown Decker Hunting Terrier nose
Coat Color Possibilities
pied Decker Hunting Terrier coat
white Decker Hunting Terrier coat
brown Decker Hunting Terrier coat
gray Decker Hunting Terrier coat
black Decker Hunting Terrier coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Decker Hunting Terrier straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Decker Hunting Terrier Breed Maintenance

This dog’s short, single-layer coat sheds moderately year-round but is easily managed with a thorough weekly or bi-weekly brushing using a slicker brush or grooming glove. Bathing isn’t required on a frequent basis for this breed, and shampoos and other products should be chosen carefully as they are somewhat more prone to skin allergies than average. Attention should be paid to the ears to ensure that they are kept clean and dry in order to prevent infections. Terrier breeds like the Fox Terrier and Rat Terrier that the Decker Hunting Terrier were developed from are also slightly more likely to develop dental disease, so it is important to ensure that their dental hygiene is attended to as well. 

Brushes for Decker Hunting Terrier
Slicker Brush
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Decker Hunting Terrier requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Decker Hunting Terrier Temperament

The Decker Hunting Terrier is a friendly and joyful hunting companion or family dog. Like most Fox and Rat Terriers, Deckers are very alert and intelligent, but they tend to be slightly less yappy. This breed is inquisitive and eager to learn, so they tend to pick up on commands fairly quickly, and they enjoy accompanying you on excursions. They do not, however, respond as well to boredom or a lack of obedience training which can result in anxious, territorial, or destructive behaviors. They are typically good with children, particularly if socialized with them at an early age and are good with canines their size and up but may chase smaller animals, including smaller dogs. While there are a few breeders who breed the dogs specifically for show or the home, most breeders that specialize in Decker Hunting Terriers continue to breed them to be the active hunting dogs that many of them are employed as.  

Decker Hunting Terrier Activity Requirements

Decker Hunting Terriers, like most terrier breeds, are very high energy dogs that require a great deal of physical and mental stimulation throughout the day. This breed has a high prey drive and should be kept on a leash unless they are on the hunt or in a controlled environment as they may chase smaller animals. They are also quite intelligent and attentive, and while their prey drive may occasionally command their attention, they are usually fairly easy to train. Decker Hunting Terriers are versatile canines, and they are likely to excel at hunt-related activities, agility training, and even advanced obedience-centered activities.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Decker Hunting Terrier Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00

Decker Hunting Terrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 24 lbs
Female Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 24 lbs
12 Months
Male Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 31 lbs
Female Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 31 lbs
18 Months
Male Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 31 lbs
Female Decker Hunting Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 20 inches Weight: 31 lbs

Decker Hunting Terrier Owner Experiences

7 Months
5 People
House & Yard
He is extremely high energy, ours is not calm at all but he is still a puppy. He is more energy driven than my Papillons. Gets along with all of our toy dogs and every person he meets. Stands at 16.5 inches at withers.
7 months, 2 weeks ago
4 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Gets along well with grandkids and they love her. They help burn some of that energy she is full of. Has been doing very well with house training too. Loves to play with friends dogs.
9 months, 4 weeks ago
Book me a walkiee?
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